China's Art Auction Market Doubles In One Year, Now 27% Bigger Than America's

vaseA Chinese buyer bid a record breaking $83 million for this vase last year, but never paid up

Photo: firepile via flickr

China has overtaken the United States as the largest art auction market in the world after its sales more than doubled in a single year, according to a new report from the French auction market authority (via Auction Central News).According to the report, sales in China — including Hong Kong — totaled $10.8 billion dollars in 2010, up from $4.6 billion the year before.

The U.S. by comparison, had art auction sales of $8.5 million in 2010, and $5.3 million in 2009.

The findings were based on a survey of 3,000 auctioneers and includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and photographs.

China, which has more newly minted millionaires than anywhere else, has been buying up art at record breaking prices.

Several auction houses tightened their rules for bidders last year after a Chinese buyer who bid $83 million for an 18th century Chinese vase never paid for the item.

Click here to see record breaking prices paid for art and other collectibles in the past year >

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